The Week in International Baseball (7-13 January)

Two major rankings were released this week, with the WBSC listing its 2017 Top 75 and Mister Baseball offering the eleventh edition of its club rankings. Other news came from the Bahamas and Nicaragua, which announced a new international baseball event.

Maikel Azcuy is leaving Britain’s National League for the Berlin Flamingoes (link). Azcuy is the all-time home run leader at BBF’s top level.

The Netherlands’ Curt Smith turned up in the Nicaraguan playoffs and hit a home run (tweet).

After observing last week that no Great Britain national team players were playing winter ball, we broke the news that Great Britain’s Barry Enright will join the Naranjeros de Hermosillo for the playoff run (tweet).

The WBSC released its end-of-year rankings and we offered a breakdown of them (link). Baseball is the only sport in the world that has nations from every continent except Africa ranked in its Top 10. Our article pointed out nations that were snubbed in the poll and broke the Top 75 down by federation and baseball-playing region.

We continued our look at the rankings with a thread on how the changes in the list might affect selection for the 2020 World Baseball Classic qualifiers (tweets).

Robert Neustrom, who played for the University of Iowa’s ‘Team USA’ at the Universiade, added to his pre-season plaudits as he was ranked the No. 74 college prospect in NCAA Division I (tweet).

Uganda Baseball had an update on its youth teams and international competition (tweet).

Malta released a video covering baseball on the islands in 2017 (link).

We broke the news in English that Nicaragua and Cuba announced a surprise addition to the 2018 baseball calendar as they will play a three-game set in Managua between February 23 and 25 (tweet 1 and tweet 2).

Josh Chetwynd released his 2017 European Club Standings via Mister-Baseball (link). We broke down the rankings with Great Britain, Belarus, Switzerland, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Serbia, Finland, and Norway among the 11 nations with record ratings.

Aruba’s Ryan Oduber is released by the Red Sox (link).

In response to another reader question, we discussed World Baseball Classic expansion and potential qualification host sites and brackets in 2020 (link).

We interviewed the Indians’ Todd Isaacs, a native of the Bahamas and the brainchild behind the Don’t Blink Home Run Derby on January 6 (tweet). Thanks to Todd, we broke the news that the derby will return in 2019, with a date scheduled for January 5 (tweet). The winner this year was top Blue Jays’ prospect Bo Bichette, who beat Lucius Fox and Nick Gordon.

Our next edition of ‘The Week’ will have more from our interview with Isaacs, plus other news from the Bahamas and Great Britain as we lead up to the Under-15 Oceania Championship.

Previous articles in this series include:
1-6 January (link)
22-31 December (link)
15-21 December (link)
8-14 December (link)
1-7 December (link)
15-30 November (link)
1-14 November (link)
15-31 October (link)
1-14 October (link)
Month of September (link)
27 August-2 September (link)
20-26 August (link)

About Gabriel Fidler

Extra Innings UK covers baseball around the world, focussing on the sport at the national team level, with features on prominent players, scouting reports, and occasional breaking news. We are fully credentialled by MLB and have covered the World Baseball Classic, continental championships, and the U.S. minor leagues.
This entry was posted in Africa, Aruba, Bahamas, Belarus, Caribbean, Central America, CNMI, Cuba, Estonia, Europe, Finland, Great Britain, Kenya, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Nicaragua, North America, Norway, Oceania, Palau, Poland, Serbia, Summer Universiade, Switzerland, Tanzania, Uganda, USA. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Week in International Baseball (7-13 January)

  1. fred johnson says:

    These European rankings always end up being such bad jokes.

    You cite the WBSC rankings by area showing Israel 4th in Europe.

    Apparently, the ranking is solely based on WBC play. Let us recall that Israel’s team had only 2 Israelis on it; the rest were Jews from the US. (God help the Israelis if the Vatican ever decides to field a team by Israeli standards where any Catholic in the world would be eligible.)

    By ranking only according to WBC play including qualifiers, the WBSC ignores the strength of our sport in a given country. Israel, for instance, does not even have a full league. No adult league. No U18 league. Nada.

    But they’re 4th in Europe. When, by the way, did Israel become part of Europe? If Israel, with no leagues, is 4th in Europe and Great Britain — with growing leagues — is 12th, something is fundamentally wrong with the selection process.

    • Fred, I appreciate your interest in our articles and don’t think anyone will disagree with your points on team selection and geography, but I think we can consider these thoughts as made for a while as you have stated them quite a few times. The WBSC does not factor in domestic leagues, only performance at qualifying tournaments, of which the WBC offers, by far, the most ranking points. They are more than happy for all the publicity having an ‘Israel’ team do well offers, though it is CEB’s doing to include Israel among European teams (consider, though, that the nearest countries with non-European national baseball teams are Iraq and Iran!).

      As to Great Britain, alas, they have not performed well in continental tournaments of late, but No. 12 in Europe does seem to be rather low. This ranking does point to a large weakness in the rankings, though. The WBSC offers points for various tournaments, which are scaled heavily towards ones that feature the highest-rated teams (e.g. finishing six of 12 in a good tournament is better than winning a low-level one), but if a team does not compete (say, the U.S. in various tournaments), it cannot get points. This will have affected, for example, Russia’s ranking ahead of Great Britain as they will have essentially received points just for showing up.

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